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The Lessons of Venus

Fairy Tales suggest that true love lasts forever, but they never show us how. Once the Prince kisses Sleeping Beauty or finds the beautiful maiden whose tiny foot fits the glass slipper, wedding bells ring out over the kingdom and the story is over—with the assumption that “happily ever after” depends solely upon the right two finding each other. 

In India, Jyotishis do a brisk business in marriage compatibility. It is probably the most common reason for people to consult an astrologer in India. Traditionally, parents do it, seeking the best match possible for their children. After ticking all the common sense boxes for a prospective partner (caste, education, career, income, physical appearance), they present the two charts to an astrologer to see if they indicate marital harmony. 

Without that astrological correspondence, they see the marriage as doomed. Though often economic and social concerns are foremost in the minds of parents, what they are seeking for their children—within their capacity to understand it—is sukha, translated usually as happiness, though sukha literally means “good space” (its opposite being dukha, “bad space“ or suffering). Sukha refers to good space in the broadest possible way, encompassing social and economic health in addition to what we would call psychological health. 

Sukha in life—and marriage is understood traditionally as the fulfilment of life in this world—depends upon both inward contentment and outward abundance or prosperity. The Vedic chart indicates where the potential for sukha lies for an individual and where it tends to be elusive. Though the technicalities are complex, the analysis of two charts for marriage compatibility essentially investigates the same thing: the sukha potential in the correspondence between two charts.  

For us modern Westerners, arranged marriage is totally foreign. We typically recoil in horror at the very thought. For us, marriage begins with romance, with a magical, electrical spark that draws two individuals together. Neuroscientists have studied the phenomenon, and indeed “falling in love” does have a biochemical foundation. Overwhelming desire arises, its root being something primal, something beyond reason or sense, something belonging perhaps to the reptilian brain, something usually flowing out of a cocktail created by the juices of Venus, Mars and Rahu coming together in some manner, with little restraint from cautious Saturn or discerning Mercury. Indeed, it is remarkable and curious how often people “fall in love” with someone totally unsuitable from a practical point of view. Yet as the saying goes, “Love is blind.” 

Yet what is that blind passion called love? It can precipitate some pretty crazy behaviour. Literature is rife with examples of its folly. Anthony cries out to heaven, “Let Rome in Tiber melt”  . . .  and turning round his ship, forsaking empire, power, politics, war . . . he sails off to Egypt, into the arms of his beloved Cleopatra—and what will soon be the tragic death of both of them. Yet could it be otherwise? 

In ordinary life, can passion of that intensity ever ripen into marital harmony? Maybe or maybe not. Jyotish can illuminate not just that possibility, but also how we might navigate our life circumstances to make that development more likely . . .  if that is truly our desire and if we are prepared to exert sustained effort towards it.  

Indians understand “love” as something that grows after marriage, when all the right components are already in place for marital sukha. We start with “love”. Yet from that foundation, the right components need to develop so that marital sukha will flourish. Jyotish transcends cultural differences, and so it can serve as a powerful tool for enhancing marital sukha in both of these contexts. For us Westerners, if the passion happens, then the charts must indicate a potential for attraction. However, they may or may not indicate an easy path to marital harmony. The necessary components may or may not be there, and the degree of effort required for realising them can vary considerably as well. 

It is also important to remember that sukha can flow from other domains of life as well (despite the high regard for marriage in the Indian tradition). Trying to squeeze sukha out of a place where it is not forthcoming resembles the futile effort of trying to fit a round peg into a square hole. 

Your individual birth chart can reveal your aptitude for relationship in general as well as your skill in managing relationship. And even though they correlate, they are not the same thing. You can possess significant inter-personal skills, yet no matter how hard you try the marriage does not last. On the other hand, some enduring relationships seem to cohere based upon a pattern of constant bickering. For marriage to endure, the Seventh House, the Lord of the Seventh House and Venus all need to be strong and unafflicted. But bigger questions need to be investigated as well, because endurance is certainly not the only criterion for relationship success. 

Fairy tales don’t tell the truth. A relationship can provide an abundance of sukha for a period of time, yet come to a natural end when certain transits and dashas (life cycles) create new alignments. This is not necessarily failure; indeed it can often precipitate psycho-spiritual growth. Relationship sukha can also flow from relationships other than marriage.The health of other houses can indicate the degree of sukha coming through friends, siblings, parents, or just about any relationship you want to investigate. And then of course, the sukha potential in a chart might be something totally other. 

Screen Shot 2019-03-31 at 16.46.16The writer Anaïs Nin had an extremely afflicted chart for marriage outcome. A Virgo Ascendent, Ketu resides in her Seventh House, Pisces. Her Seventh House is aspected not just by Rahu, but Mars and Saturn as well, so four malefic planets and no benefics influence her house of marriage. In addition, her Seventh House Lord, Jupiter, resides in the Sixth House, a difficult placement, where it is Combust the Sun, significantly reducing its power to uplift. Venus, the planet of romance, is also in the Sixth House. Anais+on+bedThough Nin married young, her marriage provided little sukha and did not last. She had a number of romantic liaisons throughout her life, each feeding her creativity as a writer but producing little in the way of conventional marriage sukha. For her, sukha flowed from her intuitive gifts (the positive fruit of the Nodes of the Moon on her First House), which distilled life experience into an extraordinary canon of writing. 

After analysing the marriage potential for an individual, Jyotish can show the likelihood for marital sukha to develop with a particular person rather than another. Many complex factors go into this analysis, and it is a big mistake to assume a relationship is doomed or blessed without considering all the relevant layers. Analysis of the dashas and transits in both charts can also show the stresses and challenges that may arise in time for a relationship and its inherent capacity to endure or not. Yet most important of all, Jyotish reveals the quality of karma behind all of the above. This is vital information for happy living. For some karma is fixed, nearly impossible to change. Some can be changed but only with much effort, and some can easily be changed. 

This is perhaps the greatest gift Jyotish offers for our life in this world, because it clarifies the path of right action, pointing out where our efforts will be most fruitful and where they are likely to lead to nothing but disappointment and frustration. So much energy gets wasted in life by people trying to live out someone else’s karma—because of an idea in their heads of how it is “supposed to be”—instead of understanding and embracing their own life purpose. 

Jyotish frees us to celebrate our unique life path with gratitude, because we are instruments of divine grace, because the path we have been given and the paths we choose to take are ultimately the same thing. This is true for relationships as it is true for everything. So for you the seeker of happiness, both temporal and ultimate—know the parameters of your chart, know your limits (for all human life encounters limits), and know the path of light and abundance—divinely ordained for you.  

My Jyotish mentor loved to say, “A little knowledge is a dangerous thing.” And how true that is. Don’t let a simplistic understanding of relationship compatibility ever send you to the divorce courts. One great thing about our contemporary society is that we have thrown away most of the rules. Your relationship does not have to fit into a culturally prescribed box. You can create it out of your character and that of your partner. You can make up your own rules, according to the unique karmic makeup of you and your beloved . . . because he or she is (or at least was at one time) your beloved. Love, in some form, was the beginning. 

Not all languages are as promiscuous with the word “love” as English. We love our husband, our wife, our child, our mother, our friend. We love chocolate, mangoes, organic cotton, red shoes. We love 70% off at the Brown Thomas Christmas Sale. We love yoga. We love God. Some languages reserve the word “love” for that romantic heartthrob only, but not English.  . .  . Yet is the English language onto something? Is there a common denominator for the indiscriminate way we throw around the word “love”? 

Love—in the most universal understanding of the concept—means a resonance between two objects. The energy can be mild or middling or monumental like a hurricane. Though all planets can indicate certain tones nuancing the quality of our love, Venus is the planet of love par excellence. Venus embodies all aspects of love, and our English usage of “love” quite accurately expresses the full range of Venus’s significance. 

Know Venus and you know Love. Venus represents the sweetness of all things sensuous. The texture of fine silk, the sheen of gold, an exquisite blend of spices, lipstick and roses, the plush seats of a shiny Ferrari convertible, your hair glistening in the wind, salt-sea air invigorating your nostrils, the music of violins and children singing from forest groves, the fingertips of your beloved  upon the warm skin of your shoulder, lines of poetry echoing through memory . . . all things resonant that feed your resonance too, lifting quite literally your whole being to an entirely new level of frequency. 

So wherever you find your love—and its resonance is always somewhere and in something in your chart—understand that it is a gateway. For the ultimate manifestation of the sweetness that is Venus is spiritual. Love for anything or anyone mirrors in its essence the purest form of love, which is divine love. Divine love is the highest expression of Venus, which is why Venus is exalted in Pisces, place of cosmic expansion and unconditional love. Every point in the material world is a portal to that infinite realm, because everything and everyone is ultimately that same Divine Reality. 

So look deeply at the relationship karma of your chart, and understand that whatever it indicates for you is whatever you need most at this time for your spiritual evolution. Manifest the unique tone of that love—and let it sing—remembering always it belongs to Divine Love, which is playing you right now. Trust that Divine Love has shaped you into a perfect instrument, and listen deeply to the music that is you. The better you understand that music, the more skilfully you participate in its expression, and the deeper the undercurrent of peace and harmony you experience in every moment of your life. And if we’re totally honest about it, isn’t that ultimately what everyone desires?

Om shanti

Chart Data and Source: Anaïs Nin, 21 February 1903; 20:25;
Paris, France (48° N 53′; 2° W 16′) AA: BC/BR in hand.

(First published in Timeline Astrology 2019,  revised February 2020)